Categories
1. Contemporary 2. Late Modern 2021 ★★★★☆ Europe North America Reviews

Dress Codes

★★★★☆ (2021)
Richard Thompson Ford, the author of How Fashion Made History, loves suits. Really loves them. And to some extent, he has written a book explaining how all fashion up to the present day leads to suits as the ultimate in menswear…

Categories
2021 8. All time periods ★★★★☆ Global Reviews

About Time

★★★★☆ (2021)
Clocks are about more than just telling the time. At one level this is a statement of the obvious: we all know that the watch you wear is not chosen purely for its practicality as a time-keeping device…

Categories
2. Late Modern 2021 7. Pre-Human ★★★☆☆ Europe Reviews

Making Deep History

★★★☆☆ (2021)
How do you envisage a million years? Clive Gamble in “Making Deep History: Zeal, Perseverance and the Time Revolution of 1859” tell us that Charles Darwin was advised in 1868 to try this exercise: take a strip of paper 83 feet 9 inches (25.4 metres) long and stretch it around the walls of a large room. Then draw a thick thin pencil line across the strip that is 0.1 inches (2.5 mm) wide. This pencil line represents 100 years.

Categories
2. Late Modern 2021 Asia ★★★★☆ Reviews

The Last Embassy

★★★★☆ (2021)
“The Dutch present ships have arrived at the Tiger’s Mouth, like tall inns on the oyster-shell mirror of the water, a joyful noise ringing out.
They’re filled with precious offerings, but first they must transmit their official document, wrapped in gold.
荷兰贡舶虎门收,蠔镜声嚣水上楼。
琛献先传金叶表,翎开还整翠云裘。”
Wang Wengao 王文诰

Categories
2021 4. Middle Ages Asia ★★★★☆ Reviews

The Horde

★★★★☆ (2021)
I first learned to fear the power of the Mongols while playing the computer game Medieval II Total War. Playing as king of the English I was pretty pleased with my thuggish army of knights and archers. By the year 1250 they had expanded my empire into most of France, a good proportion of the German states and also the Russian principalities. A small advance force of bowmen and men-at-arms had just attacked and captured Novgorod (unprovoked) when the Mongols appeared on the horizon.

Categories
2. Late Modern 2021 3. Early Modern 4. Middle Ages Asia ★★☆☆☆ Reviews

Empire of Silver

★★☆☆☆ (2021)
Silver mining is not an easy job – when you dig the raw ore out of the ground it typically contains less than 0.1% silver – 1 part in a thousand. You then have to go through a laborious process of discarding the the 0.99% that you don’t want and turning that precious 0.1% into something shiny, attractive and valuable. Reading the financial history book “Empire of Silver: a new monetary history of China” by Jin Xu can feel a bit like mining silver. The valuable nuggets of insight can feel very laborious to extract. After you have finished you will have a little pile of intellectual treasures but many readers may feel that the payoff was not worth the effort.

Categories
1. Contemporary 2021 ★★★★★ Europe Reviews

Checkmate in Berlin

★★★★★ (2021)
When the Americans and British rolled into Berlin in June 1945, optimism was high that power sharing with their Russian allies would work – it was imperative it did. But Stalin had other plans, despite agreements reached at Yalta and Potsdam. After an orgy of violence, rape and looting, the Communists set out to seize control over Berlin, culminating in the blockade. Ultimately though, a defiant airlift, in an effort resonant of Dunkirk, brought food and supplies to 2.4 million freezing, starving West Berliners. Shortly afterwards, NATO and the Warsaw Pact were established, and the battle lines were drawn for the Cold War.

Categories
2021 4. Middle Ages ★★★★★ North America Reviews

Norse America

★★★★★ (2021)
On a clear sunny day in 1170 CE, the Welsh prince Madoc, illegitimate son of the famous Owain Gwynedd, set sail from Rhos-on-Sea on the north coast of Wales. Travelling with him in his several ships were over 100 men, women and children. Passing the Great Orme copper mound and then rounding the sacred and ancient druidical island of Anglesey, the voyagers shed tears of joy as well as sadness. They were fleeing the deadly conflict between Owain Gwynedd’s sons and seeking a new life….

Categories
2021 6. Pre-Historic ★★★★☆ Global Reviews

A Story of Us

★★★★☆ (2021)
When choosing a (male) partner, to get a handle on the level of support they will provide, I invite you to weigh up the size of his testicles. If he has very large testicles compared to the size of the rest of him (as a Chimpanzee does, and as presumably our common ancestor with the Chimpanzee did) they are likely to be…